Sports and Outdoors

     
   

Keeping up with the Joneses? Bring your own nitro
Drag-racing family has ‘a lot of fun’ with long-standing hobby
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–If this year turns out to be as good as last year, the drag-racing Jackie Jones family will be fine with that.
“It’s a family deal and something we love,” Jones said. “We have a good time with it.”
Jones, 51, was named the ’05 East Texas “Driver of the Year” in January, and won his first national championship last fall, capturing the NHRA Summit Super Pro drag racing championship in Pomona, Calif.
Son David, 16, a junior at Kemp High School, was named “Rookie of the Year” last year in Cherokee County, and won his first big payout ($1,000) a few weeks ago at the O’Reilly Chevy Spectacular at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, taking the No Electronics class in his 1923 T-bucket roadster.
That same weekend, his dad won the Electronics class in his Night Moves dragster, winning a $5,000 purse.
Not to be left out, mom Lynn Jones has won all three tow vehicle races she’s entered this year in the family’s ’02 Ford Excursion.
Jackie has been racing for nearly 30 years. After graduating from Dallas Kimbell High School in 1973, he began racing around 1977 or 1978.
“I had some neighbors up the street who raced,” he recalled. “I mainly got into working on cars ... I’ve always been fascinated with motors.”
His first car was a Chevy II Nova, a car folks of a certain age remember fondly as being very quick, but not arrest-me flashy, unlike some other muscle cars of that era.
For the last 28 or 29 years, Jackie’s been operating the J&J Mechanics shop in Tool, and says he looks on racing as a fun hobby.
“It’s a sport,” he said. “You can’t make a living at it.”
Racing season covers each weekend from February to October, unless events are rained out. Last weekend (July 1/2) and next weekend (July 7) the Jones family will be racing at the Cherokee County Motorsports Park near Rusk.
At Rusk last weekend, Jackie won the Super Comp class in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series, defeating Rocky Mclain of Sagninaw in the finals, although Mclain had a lower elapsed time (by .009 second) and a higher speed (173.12 mph to Jackie’s 146.5 mph).
David will be able to enter his first national event, the O’Reilly’s Nationals, at Ennis Sept. 21-24, but admitted he really didn’t want to start racing when he did, at age 10, although he could have started in midget dragsters as early as age 8.
“I put my first car together at 11,” he said.
“David’s probably been to as many racetracks as you (Jackie),” Lynn said, explaining David had visited many racetracks around the country with friends.
“I work on cars four or five nights a week – usually because someone’s breaking something,” David said, rolling his eyes toward his dad, who blushed and looked down.
Race car drivers break things?
“One time, he (Jackie) blew a motor in his car, and broke the rear end, and I had a nitrous explosion, all within an hour,” David recalled.
David Jones is enrolled in the Texas Motorplex high school program. The points winner gets a full four-year scholarship to Arlington Technical Institute, while the runner-up gets a two-year scholarship.
“He (David) is two points (equal to one round of racing) out of first, with two races left,” Lynn Jones said.
That high school racing is done in street cars only – David drives an ’88 Mitsubushi Galant.
“David burns the tires off it,” Lynn said.
Jackie said the Galant is a $500 car. “He’s gotten his $500 out of it,” he added. “It’s a fun car, that’s all it is.”
The family races two alcohol-fueled dragsters in ET bracket racing, as well as the afore-mentioned ’23 T-bucket roadster, affectionately known as “Herman,” after the 1960s television character Herman Munster.
One dragster, a ’97 Massey, is powered by a 520-cubic-inch Chevrolet big block, while the other, an ’02 Mullis, is powered by a 476-cubic-inch Chevy big block.
Both cars run the quarter-mile in the low 8-second range, with top speeds around 155-160 mph.
An average field of 30-35 cars means five rounds of elimination racing, and with ET bracket racing, drivers must estimate what they think their elapsed time will be prior to the race.
The key to drag racing, particularly when cars are well-matched, is the driver’s reaction to the green light, which is measured in thousandths of a second.
Going into the national championships in California last year, Jackie was particularly worried about being too quick off the line, after having missed other chances at the big race because he red-lighted in the Division 4 Finals at Ennis.
In Pomona last fall, Jackie put up reaction times of .007, .005 and .009 in the final rounds, which proved to be plenty quick enough.
Of course, it’s not just Jackie, David and Lynn handling everything. Jackie said he gets a lot of help from a couple of his best friends, Mike Straughan and Randy Jackson.
Jackson, who works at Crow Machine Shop in Gun Barrel City, is invaluable when it comes to repairing or replacing parts, while Straughan is Jackie’s advisor on motors.
“If something breaks, we have to figure out why it breaks,” he explained. “Three minds are better than one, believe me.”
Neighbors Jeff and Michele Parker also provide a lot of help and support. “He’s my No. 2 mechanic,” Jackie said.
Tyler and Cameron Irvin also help with loading parts and changing transmissions, David Jones pointed out.
Racing weekends are opportunities for a good time with friends and acquaintances – and Jackie is plenty good at driving burgers and steaks around the old barbecue grill, Lynn pointed out.
“We have cookouts every Saturday,” she said.
 

 

Van Horn, Goode, Jones top flights at MGA tournament
Monitor Staff Reports
KEMP–Jeffrey Van Horn and James Mashburn finished atop the championship flight of the MGA Championship tournament at the Cedar Creek Country Club June 25.
Van Horn finished as the first place gross with a total gross (and net, with a zero handicap) of 143 in the two-round tournament, carding rounds of 74 and 69.
Mashburn finished as the first place net, with a gross score of 150 and a handicap of 5, for a total net score of 140, carding rounds of 73 and 77.
Terry Brown was second place net in the championship flight with a gross score of 145, a handicap of 2, and a net score of 141, carding rounds of 74 and 71.
Also in the championship flight were Dave Rohde (rounds of 77 and 74, net 147), David Cary (81/82, net 147), Bob Felty (79/79, net 148) and Rodney Wray (77/78, net 149).
Also, Tyler Underriner (76/83, net 151), Bobby Weckherlin (84/79, net 151), Andrew Jordan (78/85, net 153), Mike Roach (83/92, net 157) and Brad Moody (82/DNF).
Leroy Goode took first place gross in the first flight, carding rounds of 84 and 79 to finish with a tournament total of 163. With a 12 handicap, Goode’s net score was 139.
Wes Verner took first place net in the first flight, carding rounds of 80 and 84, with a 10 handicap, to finish with a gross of 164 and a net of 144.
Tom Green took second place net, carding rounds of 82 and 77 with a 12 handicap, for a net of 145.
Also in the first flight were Dan Bradfield (86/81, net 147), Buddy Morgan (85/84, net 147), Mike Clement (85/88, net 147) and Lewis Armstrong (87/85, net 148).
Also, John Andrews (86/85, net 151), Sonny Roach (86/90, net 152), Dean Fannin (88/88, net 152), Dan Merrill (89/84, net 153), Billy Tyler (93/87, net 156) and David Winn (89/93, net 162).
Ron Jones took first place gross in the second flight carding back-to-back rounds of 89 with a 15 handicap for a gross score of 178 and a net score of 148.
There was a three-way tie for first place net between Clarence Hill, Dewayne Taylor and Ray Brown, who all posted net scores of 145.
Hill had rounds of 88 and 95, with a handicap of 19, while Taylor carded rounds of 98 and 85 with a handicap of 19 and Brown had rounds of 94 and 95 with a handicap of 22.
Also on the second flight were Roger Pierce (98/89, net 147), Bruce Irwin (87/92, net 149), Ken Cates (96/89, net 149) and Derek Drab (89/93, net 150).
Also, Bob Relyea (91/92, net 151), Dennis Caillet (92/92, net 152), Ray Adams (99/111, net 158), Rudy Kralich (105/113, net 154) and Mike Cathey (97/DNF).
In the championship flight, David Rohde was closest to the pin on No. 5 Saturday, while Jeffrey Van Horn was closest on Sunday.
In the first flight, Tom Green was closest to the pin on No. 8 Saturday, while Wes Verner was closest Sunday.
In the second flight, Ken Cates was closest to the pin on No. 17 Saturday, and Bob Relyea was closest Sunday.
 


Upcoming Games

CC Christian Softball League
Saturday, July 8 (makeup games)
7 a.m. Justice
Prairieville Illustrated vs St. Jude Saints
7 a.m. Tommy Smith
no game
8 a.m. Justice
Grace Extreme Impact vs St. Jude Saints
8 a.m. Tommy Smith
Prairieville Illustrated vs A Sinner’s Hope Baptist
9 a.m. Justice
CLC Crushers vs Grace Extreme Impact
9 a.m. Tommy Smith
A Sinner’s Hope Baptist vs Providence Baptist
10 a.m. Justice
Hillcrest Blue vs FBC-GBC Halos
10 a.m. Tommy Smith
CLC Crushers vs FBC Kemp
11 a.m. Justice
Calvary Jesus Freaks vs FBC-GBC Halos
11 a.m. Tommy Smith
Aley Mustangs vs Hillcrest Blue
noon Justice
Calvary Jesus Freaks vs FBC Mabank Sea Donkeys
noon Tommy Smith
Aley Mustangs vs CC Church of God
1 p.m. Justice
FBC Mabank Sea Donkeys vs CC Church of God
1 p.m. Tommy Smith
CLC Flame Kickers vs FBC Eustace Disciples
2 p.m. Justice
Prairieville Armadillos vs CC Bible Bearers of Light
2 p.m. Tommy Smith
Hillcrest Red vs FBC Eustace Disciples
3 p.m. Justice
Prairieville Armadilloes vs Hillcrest Red
3 p.m. Tommy Smith
Legendary Baptist vs CC Bible Bearers of Light
4 p.m. Justice
CLC Frogs vs Legendary Baptist
First team listed is home team